Why Isn’t Social Media Working For Me?

Why Isn’t Social Media Working For Me?

You’ve tried just about everything you can think of on Facebook and your business page still feels like a ghost town, with tumbleweed blowing through it. No-one seems to see it, nobody likes or comments apart from your friends and family, and it’s certainly not helping you sell anything. Gah!

Twitter scares the pants off you. Instagram is great but what’s with all the hashtags and as for Pinterest? Well, you can easily lose an afternoon gazing at beautiful things on there but how the heck is it supposed to help you build your business?

So, what do you do when you feel like it’s just not working for you? Should you give up? Pay for expensive ads that probably won’t work either? Stick a sandwich board over your shoulders and take to the streets? Buy a megaphone? Well, that might work…or you could just take another look at your relationship with social media.

The Thing About Social Media

The first thing to remember is first and foremost, social media is there to connect people and build relationships. It’s designed around the user, rather than businesses.

So, the first thing you need to look at is how you are using social media. Are you using it like a frustrated business owner who is desperate to sell stuff? Or are you using it like a relationship-building network, where fans and followers are actually real people and not something to be collected and counted? Those are two very different approaches and could have a big impact on how they work for you.

Why Social Media Might Not Be Working For You

I see loads of Facebook pages that are just sell, sell, sell. They push out the same old messages, on autopilot, a few times a week but there is no relationship building going on.

I see Twitter accounts that are just auto-posts from LinkedIn or Facebook. Sentences are cut off, pictures are the wrong size and there is nothing to tempt you to read the tweets, let alone click.

I see Instagram accounts full of dark, badly lit images that look out of place among the lovely photos displayed by other accounts.

These are just a tiny few of the reasons why social media might not be working for you – there are many, many more.

All these ‘mistakes’ are symptoms of someone who doesn’t know what THEY want from social media or, crucially, what their CUSTOMERS want from it.

Oooh I Love That!

Think of the social media accounts you love to follow.

Are there Facebook pages that feel like a lovely place to be? They might show you things you would love to buy. They might help you with tips and advice. They might even feel like a community. They definitely feel like somewhere it’s worth spending time. My goal with Facebook is for my page to be a really useful resource, somewhere business owners can come and find things they like and that will help them. And it works. It helps me to build my business. And I have fun at the same time.

I know I love certain sites because the page owners are artists or crafters and they show things they are working on. I love seeing videos of things being made. I also follow some pages because they share really good tips and advice. In some cases I just love the way they do things. How about you? What are your favourite Facebook pages to follow?

Are there any Twitter accounts you find funny? Or interesting? Or useful? Or thought-provoking? I’m not a big Twitter user but the accounts I do follow tend to be useful. They share things I need to know or keep on top of. My friend, on the other hand is a Twitter ninja. She takes part in local Twitter hours and has made real friends as a result. She’s also had lots of business from it. She’s also had her business featured in a couple of magazines as a result of getting to know journalists on Twitter. She really enjoys using it and it shows.

How about the Instagram accounts you follow – there will be some that you find fabulous or inspirational, I’m guessing? Again, I’m quite a casual Instagram user but I know some business owners who are IG whizzes! They have their content down to a fine art. Not all of them have businesses where they have ‘pretty’ things to photograph, but they make up for it by posting inspirational quotes, fun videos and great tips. I know gift shop owners who drive traffic to their bricks and mortar shop and website via Instagram, and it brings sales. I know jewellery designers and fitness instructors who are using Instagram to build awareness of their brand and they get customers from it. And they are having fun while they do it.

I’m pretty sure with our non-business head on it’s easy to see which social media platforms and users we love and which we don’t. We just forget to apply that same thinking to our business social media.

Why Did I Think That Was A Good Idea?

Why do we think we’ll do well with sell, sell, sell when it doesn’t work on us?

Why do we think it’s a good idea to fill our Twitter feed with auto-posts from Facebook when it cuts off our sentences and looks rubbish – we wouldn’t click on other people’s accounts if they looked like that, so why do we do it?

Would you REALLY click on a bad photo on Instagram, where the lighting is all wrong and you can’t really see what you’re looking at? Or would you just not bother and instead look and like and comment upon the lovely photos?

If we just put ourselves in the shoes and mind of our customers, we wouldn’t do these things. We just get busy and we forget. We stick any old stuff out there because we need to be on social media, don’t we?

Could Your Social Media Be Harming Your Business?

Imagine if someone we met at an event checked out our Instagram account, to see badly-lit, hastily posted images that really don’t do us justice… would that be more favourable than seeing an account with just one or two lovely images and a bio taking us to our just-as-lovely website?

How about if someone was referred to us and checked out our Twitter account, to find a feed full of ‘couldn’t be bothered to do it properly’ tweets?

And what if a magazine was looking for businesses to feature and they checked out your Facebook page to find nothing other than random, salesy posts and no attempt at showing the heart and soul of the business?

Do you see what I mean about badly-done social media doing more harm than good?

Quick Steps To Making Social Media Work For You

Let’s look at how it could work, if you are not sure what to do for the best.

  1. First of all, pick ONE platform. Ideally the one you like best, which ideally also happens to be where your potential customers will be looking. One platform done well is better than several done badly.
  2. Stop counting fans and start talking to people. Every fan or follower is a person. This doesn’t mean you have to personally welcome every new fan to your page or account (that can look a bit stalky) but it does mean you need to try to get people talking. A handful of ‘engaged’ people is worth more than a thousand who are indifferent. Think about what makes YOU love certain pages or accounts or businesses. What can you learn from them?
  3. Give it a chance – it takes TIME. Once you have figured out what type of content and posts would work best on your chosen social media account, get on and do it. Even if nobody interacts at first. Even if it feels like you’re talking to an empty room. Keep trying new things. New variations. Ask questions. Make and post videos. Try live streaming. Share tips and advice. See where and how you can help your fans and followers, those REAL people behind the usernames. Give it time, keep trying and testing and tweaking. Keep going. Keep helping. And one day, it will start to work. If you are posting the right content – if it’s useful and interesting stuff your buyers would love, it will work. It works ON you, so let’s get it working FOR you.

[Tweet “Stop counting fans and start talking to people #tgmb #socialmediatip “]

Of course, there are loads of other things you can do. I’ve got lots of blogs on social media and how to use it to build your business but my best bit of advice is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were them, would you love what you see? If you were them, would your social media accounts feel lovely? And useful? And interesting? And like a community? If the answer is NO, then change things until they do.

Bonus!

The bonus is, it’s less work than trying to manage lots of accounts badly and it will feel so much nicer to work on ONE account that makes you and your customers smile. So, should you give up on social media? Well, that’s up to you but why not try what I’ve suggested, have some fun, make some changes and see if you can’t fall in love with it a bit. Your business will thank you for it.

19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

I have a question for you.

What is your website DOING for your business?

I’m asking because, if your website isn’t bringing you clients or building your list, then I’m sorry to tell you this but you’ve probably wasted your money. Every week I see beautiful-looking coaching websites that have cost their owner a small fortune but aren’t achieving either of these things and it frustrates me!

Let me share something. My website pays its way. I get a GREAT return on my investment.

  • It builds my credibility
  • It helps me get found in Google searches
  • It’s a place where my clients can find loads of free help and advice
  • It gathers leads for me – lots of leads, every day
  • It builds trust with my web visitors
  • It adds value for my readers
  • It drives sales
  • It brings me money

Does yours?

If not, don’t worry because I’ve put together a list of 19 things that will help you to make the most of your website and get it working for you the way that mine works for me.

Here are 19 things it would be REALLY useful to have on your coaching business website (if it’s going to build your business and make you money)
 1. Your personality, shining through

Yes I know it sounds simple but do you KNOW how many coaching websites I look at each week? Loads is the answer and do you know how many stand out and are memorable? Hardly any at all. Most are samey and sterile. They use the same old stock images. They look the same as each other. They say the same things in the same words. Booooooooring!

Do you know what your best selling point is in your business? It’s YOU. You are the differentiator. You are unique. You are what sets you apart from every other coach, even those in the same field. So BE YOU on your website. Talk from the heart. Use personal stories and experiences. Write as though you are talking to a friend. Ditch the ‘professional’ language and explain why you are the perfect solution for your super-clients. Share successes and breakthroughs. Be you, loud and proud.

2. What you do and for whom

DON’T just list your services – people aren’t interested in what services you provide. No, stop arguing with me, I know what I’m talking about, I promise! It’s all about them. People want to know what you can DO FOR THEM. They want to know how you are going to make them feel. They want to know what problems you are going to solve for them and how their life will be better, as a result. They want to know the outcomes, not the processes. So make it really clear who you work with, who your Super Clients are and then tell THESE people what you will do for them and why they should care.

3. Blogs

Blogs are a biggie on any coaching website. They add value for your visitors, especially if you are really clear on your Super Clients and write specifically for them, addressing their challenges and solving their problems. Blogs are brilliant for getting your site found on Google because the search engines LOVE new, regularly-added content and a blog is the simplest way to achieve this.  Every new blog you write gives the search engines more to choose from when they are picking which sites appear in searches. Weekly or monthly blogs on your expert topics allow you to showcase your expertise, add value for your website visitors and build relationships with your readers. Every blog you write has the potential to turn into LOADS of other things, from social media posts to e-books (even more reason to get blogging right now!)

4. Videos

You need to bridge a big gap from stranger to trusted coach before people will buy from you and adding videos to your website is the quickest and easiest way to do this – it allows people to see and hear you, to learn from you and see whether they think you’re a good fit. A video will act as a magnet and a filter – it will attract the people who ‘get’ you and love what you are saying and will filter out anyone who doesn’t feel you’re right for them. Think about including a little ‘my story’ video on the about page if your story brought you to coaching, or how about a couple of mini help videos or classes, under 5 minutes long where you give people a valuable snippet of what you do – after all if they like your free stuff, they are going to LOVE your paid stuff.

5. Sign up box on your front page

If you don’t collect email addresses then you are losing out on every person who visits your site and doesn’t buy right away and that’s a waste! There are loads of reasons why people might not buy on their first visit to your site – it wasn’t the right time, they were just researching, they needed to speak to someone else about it, they got distracted, plus a whole load of other possible reasons. That doesn’t mean they WON’T buy. It just means they weren’t ready at that point, so what you need to do is create an easy way to figure out if they are a good fit for you and if they are, then give them a reason to sign up and hear from you.

Encourage them to hand over their email address using a great offer that really speaks to your Super Customer but not really to anyone else (because you only want to attract the RIGHT people onto your list, not just random people) and then you can start to build a relationship with them. Getting them onto your list means you can send regular value-packed e-newsletters and (occasional) amazing offers that will keep you top of mind and show your subscribers why they need to read your emails. Adding a sign up box is easy peasy with Mailchimp or any of the major email software packages.

6. Irresistible Freebie

Once you have your sign up box, you need that tempting offer I mentioned in point 5 to encourage people to hand over their email address. This can be a cheat sheet, a short video, a guide or e-book – anything your Super Clients will love (don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of it). You can use Canva.com to create quick and easy great-looking freebies that you can download as a PDF and deliver using your email software.

7. Contact details

You want people to be able to get in touch with you, so make it easy for them. It’s helpful if you let them know where in the world you are, if you offer local sessions but you don’t need to put email address on there (which will be picked up by the spammers in a matter of days)…Instead, you can use a contact form Most websites let you do this as a standard feature or your web person can set one up very easily. This will let people contact you and will forward enquiries to your email. It’s also helpful if you can manage people’s expectations and let them know when they are likely to hear from you. You could say ‘we respond to emails within one working day’ or ‘we will get back to you during our working hours (9-5 Monday to Friday)’ or whatever works for you. That way enquirers won’t expect an immediate response and if you do happen to get back to them sooner than expected, that’s a bonus!

8. Good quality images

Don’t use the same old stock images ‘woman looking thoughtful’, ‘woman staring at ocean’, ‘woman at laptop’ – make a bit of effort! You want your website to SPEAK to your Super Clients and be memorable and if it looks the same as every other site out there it’s not going to do either. Think about a style that reflects YOU. Don’t always go for free images – a better, less over-used image might only cost a few pounds but will set you apart. A professional photographer could spend half a day with you and take LOADS of photos that are yours, to love and keep and use. It won’t be as cheap as buying images off the internet but really, what’s it worth to you to have a beautifully branded, unique site that will look amazing and professional, but not samey? Also, think about getting illustrations done – they don’t have to be expensive but they can really stand out in a crowded market place. Fiverr.com is a brilliant place to start. We’ll talk about photos of YOU shortly…

9. Client testimonials

If you have happy clients and are getting great results, SHOUT ABOUT IT! When people visit your website they want to know what you can DO for them, what results you can bring and how you can make them feel. Now you can tell them but imagine how much more compelling it is if your CLIENTS tell them. Ask your clients for testimonials and be really specific about the sort of details you would like them to include and then USE them. Have a ‘success stories’ page or a ‘testimonials’ page or ‘what people are saying’ page. Testimonials are what we call social proof – they are a third party saying that you do what you say you do, and that’s worth a LOT

10. Good bio

You must include a biography (or bio) on your coaching website to show people, quickly and concisely who you are and what you have achieved.

This can feel quite uncomfortable to write, but put yourself in the mind of your website visitors and think about how you would sum up YOU. In my case I say I’m a mum of one, I give a brief history of my career to date (literally a sentence or two) and then I talk about my biggest achievements! This is your chance to shine and connect, so be yourself. Don’t list all 27 of your qualifications – if you MUST list them, just do the top few most important qualifications and maybe create a PDF where you list all of them that people can download if they really want to. Think about places you’ve been featured in the press, any events you have spoken at, anything that adds credibility and shows you’re not just any old coach.

11. Sign ups on bottom of blogs

In addition to your front page sign-up box I mentioned in point 5, it’s also a REALLY good idea to add a sign up box to the bottom of each blog. Why? Because hopefully you’ll be sharing your blog on social media and people will be following your links back to read your individual blog posts, bypassing the front page. That’s a lost opportunity so make sure you add a link to your irresistible freebie onto the bottom of each blog to capture those visitors who never see the front page – you can use JotForm (free) or Magic Action box (paid) for this.

12. Photos of you

Yes, I know you don’t like getting your photo taken. Yes, I know you’d like to lose weight/grow your hair/get a new wardrobe first – just stop it! You are gorgeous as you are and your Super Client website visitors don’t CARE if you’re not a super model, in fact they are relieved you’re not, and that you’re a real person like them. You NEED photos of you on your site. With coaching, people are buying YOU either in person or remotely via online programmes and you have to show them who you are (remember, YOU are your USP). Invest in getting some nice photos done – yes get your hair done and look your best but don’t wait, just book in and get them done asap. And instead of getting just the usual head/shoulders shot, why not have you being yourself? Don’t be boring. Be you. Let your personality shine through!

13. Social sharing buttons

Some of my blogs have got over 1000 shares on social media and guess what, if I didn’t have social sharing buttons that would never have happened. Over 1000 people shared them on their social media accounts, so just imagine how many MORE people saw them? I’m thinking it could be squillions! You NEED to add social sharing buttons to your blog. My blog and site are on WordPress (if you’re not then you need to seriously consider it) and you can get lots of social sharing plugins to add buttons to each blog. Google ‘social sharing plugin’ and go for those with the best reviews and ratings. If you’re not on WordPress then ask your web person if they can add social sharing buttons. Every blog shared is another chance to reach new Super Clients and another chance to build your list if you have a signup box on the bottom of each blog, as I mentioned in point 11.

14. Credibility strip

A credibility strip is a little strip on your website where you have the logos of all the publications/websites/media where you’ve been featured. Remember I talked about social proof in relation to testimonials? Well, a credibility strip is an other example of social proof – it’s a third party endorsement because you’ve been featured in the media. My credibility strip includes Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Ireland AM, Huffington Post, Essentials Magazine and Closer Magazine to name just a few. Do you think this helps my credibility and helps people to trust my content? Of course it does, it helps a lot and that’s why you need one too. Even if you’ve only been featured in your local press, it matters! Start to be strategic and think about what you’d LOVE to have on your credibility strip and how you can make that happen! PS ONLY EVER put logos on your credibility strip if you have actually been featured there – fibbing lacks integrity, is bad form and will come back and bite you!

15. Media page

If you DO want to build your credibility strip then you need to start getting featured places! This means you need to proactively seek PR opportunities and then do your best to show you’re just what that paper or magazine needs. Add a media page to your website showing your core areas of expertise and where you have been featured before because if you DO approach journalists, they are going to do some research on you. If you can make it easy for them, show them where you’ve had articles featured, any books you’ve written, where you’ve been an online expert or who you’ve done speaking gigs for it makes their decision easier. Link to any guest content or articles you’ve written so they can get a feel for your style and see if it works for them and their audience.

16. Easy path to buying

Look at your website. Are you making it easy for people to get in touch? Work with you? Enquire? Buy? Really? How many pages do they need to click through? How many hoops do they have to jump through. Why not ask someone else to look at your site with fresh eyes (ideally someone who is as close to a Super Client profile as possible) and see what they make of it. The more hoops and hurdles you put in place, the less likely someone is to stick with it and sign up for your freebie, fill out your enquiry form or buy that product.

17. Facebook likes box

If you have a business Facebook page it’s a great idea to embed a Facebook likes box into the front page of your site because it gives people another way to connect and engage with you. Tell them that you share loads of tips and advice on your page and to come on over and say hi. The more ways you can connect and engage, the quicker your visitors will get to know, like and trust you, and the quicker they will buy if you are right for them. Embedding a FB likes box is as simple as including a bit of code on your site – if you can’t do it then your web person will be able to sort it easily for you.

18. A clear call to action

What ONE thing do you want people to do when they are on your site? On my site I want them to join my mailing list or buy something. I give them tons of great value, high quality free marketing resources while they are there but really, I want to be able to keep in touch with them once they’ve left the site so the minimum I want them to do is sign up for my irresistible freebie, or one of my tailored list-builders like the one on the bottom of this blog.

19. Something unexpected your Super Clients will love

Instead of the same old stuff everyone else is sharing, why not think about sharing something that will surprise and delight them? Share your favourite energy-boosting smoothie recipe, a list of your favourite books, your best productivity tip – something that they can’t get anywhere else and that makes them feel that you’re opening up and sharing part of your life.

You don’t need to have all these on your site right now, but you do need to get them on there at some point. Some are really quick and easy. Others like photos of you or a great irresistible freebie might take a little planning but put them on the list and give yourself a deadline.

If you have all 19 of these elements in place your website will magically turn into a brilliant marketing and sales tool that builds your list, drives enquiries and brings you new Super Clients while you’re busy doing other things. What’s not to love?

Let me know if you have any more to add to the list. What really works on YOUR site?

How To Find Your Missing Mojo After A Break

How To Find Your Missing Mojo After A Break

You know when you’ve got a holiday coming up and you work like CRAZY to get everything prepared for it? You use every available hour and minute to hit those pre-holiday deadlines and then finally, you’re done. All finished. Or as much as you ever will be.

And then you enjoy your holiday break. You wind down. You relax. You leave all thoughts of work and business behind while you take a well-earned rest. You spend time with the family. You catch up on hobbies. You find yourself getting quite used to this ‘doing nothing’ lark.

But then you get a niggling feeling. You know you need to get back into the business. There is marketing to be done. Orders to fulfil. Tax to sort out. Things to make, things to sell.

The only trouble is you feel as FLAT as a pancake.

That rest and relaxation you needed so badly has drained you of all your enthusiasm for your business. Your mojo has vanished and you can’t even vaguely think about doing anything work-related – you simply don’t have the energy for it. Then often you get hit by bugs – cold and flu is my bug of choice each year – because as soon as you relax it’s like your body decides now would be a great time to knock you down, seeing as though you’re having a rest and not so busy. Aaaaaagh!

Then the panic sets in. What if I can’t get rid of this flat feeling? I have so much to do- I need to be DOING but I can’t! I’m wasting so much time doing NOTHING when I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm. Why did I take that time off? I should have kept going! Guilt! Guilt! Worry! Worry!

STOP! Stop stop stop stop. Wooooah.

There are some things you need to know.

First of all, this is totally normal

I feel like this every Christmas and every summer and every blummin holiday and I LOVE my business, just like you. But having some time off messes with your mind. We are so used to being in a flurry of activity, being crazy busy and playing catch up all the time that once we stop our brain and body let out a sigh of relief (metaphorically speaking).

Second, it doesn’t last forever

It will pass and there are things you can do to help that happen.

Third, this is your body telling you to take it easy

Running on adrenaline shouldn’t be your normal state, and yet for most of us business owners it is. It’s a safety mechanism and a warning.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Well the first thing you can do is shut up those mind monkeys that are telling you you’re ‘wasting’ precious time by having a rest. You’re not. You’re looking after yourself and the business can wait.
  2. Remember why you are doing this. You’re building a business BECAUSE you want that precious time with the family, you want that precious ‘me’ time, you WANT to be able to have time off. And yet when you get it, you can’t enjoy it. So, enjoy it.
  3. Keep a notebook or planner handy so when your brain goes into overdrive or the mind monkeys make you panic, you can write down things you need to remember and you can tackle them when you’re back at work.
  4. Give yourself a specific day to start back in the business – say you’ll start back on THIS date and stick to it. The rest of the time don’t bother with business stuff, just enjoy yourself and stop worrying knowing you can deal with the business on that specific day. It’s about setting boundaries.
  5. Don’t let customers bully or pressure you into going back earlier than planned. Boundaries, remember? You’re off until THIS date and you can help them then. If they are the right sort of customer for you, they will understand. If they don’t understand and start getting nasty, you are well rid!
  6. Start with the fun stuff. Then do something you’re not looking forward to so much. Then another fun thing. That way you can enjoy getting back into work but also don’t store all the horrible jobs up. Mix them up and treat yourself in between.
  7. Treat yourself to a planning day. No pressure. Nothing but big dreams and grand plans. Do some colouring, make a vision board, work out how you would love to spend your time each day. Get yourself reinvigorated and excited about what lies ahead.
  8. Finally, stop comparing yourself. It’s not about what everyone else is doing. It’s about you doing your best with what you have. You’re not ‘falling behind’. You’re not leaving things too late. You’re not wasting time or letting yourself down. You’re having a much needed break that will give you the energy to keep going later.

 

Oh, and you’re a business owner. You are running your own business. That means you are officially awesome.

When you are ready I have a load of blogs and articles and resources to help you get back into the swing of things. I’ve also got my fab 2017 Awesome Marketing Planner System if that’s what you need. But for now go back to having a rest, stop worrying, start having fun and I’ll see you on the other side. Happy zonking!

 

 

How To Deal With Copycats

How To Deal With Copycats

I had a question this week from a lady saying someone had copied her entire business, from her website to her social media posts – there were just enough differences for it not to be a direct duplication (she had used slightly different images) but to the casual observer, they may as well have been the same business.

This was no coincidence. The copycat had been a ‘fan’ of this lady’s business for a while and clearly loved it so much that she decided she’d do exactly the same thing.

Now, I totally understand what this feels like. I’ve had it done to me several times, even by people who should know better, but here’s the thing. It’s complicated.

It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.

I’ve had weeks where I’ve been CONSUMED by someone copying me. It’s driven me crazy. I’ve deliberated about what to say to them. I’ve thought about how to respond. I’ve grumped and grouched and grumbled about the CHEEK of them. How bloody dare they?

The trouble is, when I’ve done that I’ve been SO consumed by grouching and anger that I didn’t focus on my business. Blogs went unwritten. Plans weren’t actioned. I was too distracted.

Which is interesting.

Because the actual copycat didn’t NEED to have any effect on my business. I could have ignored them. I could have put them out of my mind and let them stew. I could have chosen not to give them any attention or energy.

But by grouching and grumbling, and looking through their social media and website to see exactly HOW much stuff they had copied I gave them LOADS of energy. I also got myself totally wound up. And MY business suffered because of that.

So I actually LET the copycat harm my business when I didn’t need to let it happen.

Now, I understand that sometimes the copycat is someone you know. Sometimes it’s someone in the same town or social circle. Sometimes they are too close for comfort. Which makes it awkward.

I understand that sometimes trademarks or plagiarism are involved and you have to take them seriously and go legal. I understand that people stealing your photos is definitely NOT ON.

But, here’s the thing.

You are the original. You are the one being copied. And it’s up to YOU to rise above it.

You can choose to bicker and grumble and fight, but your business will suffer.

Or you can raise your game. As Michelle Obama said ‘when they go low, we go high’ (my absolutely new favourite quote ever).

So however angry and annoyed and frustrated you feel, you can choose to direct that energy at them or you can choose to use it to fuel your business.

You can choose to GO HIGH.

What does that look like?

It means you don’t get emotional with them. It means you deal with them like a business owner and keep things professional. You can email them and tell them to cease and desist from using your photos and intellectual property – it’s good to get legal advice on this if you can afford it. RocketLawyer sells templates online for all the main legal letter types in the UK.

It means you don’t lower yourself to their level and have a slanging match.

It means you stop looking at their stuff and stop thinking about them. It’s not easy but it’s your choice to do so. Block them on social media and unfollow their accounts. Choose not to look at their website or Etsy shop or whatever. Choose not to have them in your life. If you need to keep an eye on whether they are stealing your images, ask a friend to do it for you so you don’t get consumed, then go back to point one and deal with them professionally and without emotion.

That way you’re not driving yourself mad.

It means raising your game by coming up with new, better, things that are YOU, through and through. Develop your brand so that people know you for it. Put all your energy into making your business strong and well-known. Put your energy and passion into creating something that nobody else can come close to. Be the original.

There will always be copycats. And the better-known you become, the more copycats you will attract. But they don’t have your passion. They don’t have your ideas. They don’t have your experience and knowledge and imagination.

They are not you.

And because they are just copying and not putting their own ideas and imagination and passion into their business, they are setting themselves up to fail. I see it time and time again.

A business like that can only compete on price, which is a bad business model – they can’t compete on being better or different or unusual because they are copying someone else.

So, it’s a tough one but here are my thoughts.

It will HURT when you find someone blatantly copying you.

It can drive you mad or it can drive you on. It’s your choice.

I would choose to put the energy into MY business.

I would choose not to fight, but to HARNESS my anger and frustration and make my business even better.

I would choose to go HIGH.

17 Small Business Saturday Marketing Tips

17 Small Business Saturday Marketing Tips

Small Business Saturday is the one time each year when the world’s eyes are on small businesses – certainly in the UK (December 3rd 2016) and the US (November 26th 2016) there are major initiatives backed by Government to encourage people to shop small and/or local. Lots of focus is put on bricks and mortar businesses who are battling with big high-street retailers, especially around Black Friday, but Small Business Saturday is a chance for ANY small business to make your mark and tap into the buzz.

Here are 17 ideas to help you make the most of Small Business Saturday, no matter where you are in the world.

1 – If you have a shop or other premises, download the posters and window stickers from the Small Business Saturday website (here’s the UK ONE and here is the US ONE) for your country and put them up where customers can see them.

2 – Download the Small Business Saturday logo and banners and use them on your website to show you’re taking part.

3 – Create special Small Business Saturday Facebook and Twitter headers using Canva.

4 – Tweet photos of your products, premises, staff and customers using the#SmallBizSatUK or #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag in your tweets – especially if you have SBS themed pics.

5 – Follow the #SmallBizSatUK or #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtags on Twitter and see what other businesses are doing – see if you get inspired to do something that will work for your business.

6 – Retweet tweets with those hashtags to help other businesses spread the word and there’s a good chance they will do the same for you.

7 – Have a special Small Business Saturday promotion or offer just for that day – mention in your email newsletters and social media posts that you’ll be having a MEGA SBS day and build the buzz!

8 – Ask your customers what promotion they would love to see – maybe give them a choice of 3 or 4 on social media and ask them to vote for which mega deal they’d love to see.

9 – See what is going on in your local area that you can link with – some towns and cities host special SBS events, local newspapers will have special SBS features (be warned they are usually chargeable!) and there may be special Twitter hashtags you can use or town-specific Facebook pages you can use to join in with the local campaign.

10 – Host an event either alone or with other businesses. I’ve seen this done really successfully both on an industry theme (maternity, bridal) and in a local area (a street of shops) where everyone had posters and window stickers on their premises, website and social media. I’ve also seen shops create a ‘trail’ where customers had to visit each shop and take a selfie and the selfies with the most votes on Facebook won a prize, also one where customers got a stamp and full ‘stamp cards’ were entered into a prize draw to win a hamper from the shops involved.

11 – If you can’t do an event, why not just have mince pies, or balloons, or bunting – something that will encourage people to come in and feel part of the celebrations. Invite your local brass band to play in the street or the local majorettes to do their thing – see who’s up for a performance (just let your local council know if you’re doing this in case they need to sort traffic or other issues).

12 – Record a video for social media from you and/or your team all about your Small Business Saturday plans – talk about why you’re doing it and the difference it makes. Don’t get hung up about how you look or sound – just talk from the heart and share why Small Business Saturday matters to you and have a laugh, too. Post it on Facebook, put it on your website, link to it from Twitter, tag your local paper and radio station when you post it on social media so they are aware.

13 – Make the most of trending topics on Facebook – any topic that is trending automatically gets much better reach than other posts so join in the trend!

14 – In the UK the Small Business Saturday team choose 100 businesses to represent all small business – those on the top 100 list get lots of mentions on social media and even get invited to Downing Street. You’ve got to be an early bird to get that one – the results are announced in August each year.

15 – Tell everyone you know that you’re part of Small Business Saturday and ask them to support you – if you don’t ask, you don’t get and they are not mind readers.

16 – See if you can get some PR coverage – there’s a good chance your local media will already be doing something and, let’s face it, they are going to cover the most interesting/exciting/newsworthy events so make yours one or all of the above! You just need to drop them a tweet or an email letting them know your plans and see if they are interested – be brave!

17 – Be proud. Shout about your business. This is the ONE day of the year when the world makes it easy for you to be seen and heard as a small business so make the most of it!!

Remember, once you’re in the marketing swing of things, don’t let it rest there.

Just because Small Business Saturday is over doesn’t mean you stop shouting – make the most of the buzz and energy you created and build on it. Keep tweeting, posting and shouting. Keep in touch with the media you contacted and tell them about other interesting things you’re up to, after all you know them now.

Keep up the momentum. Small Business Saturday is not just a day, it’s a leg up and it’s up to YOU not to waste it. What are you waiting for?